Question #8: What are some things, situations, behaviors, people, that are hard for you to be with?
Hard to be with…hmm…
Well, once I was on the subway and some teenagers started belittling and verbally accosting a very overweight woman.
She sat there and pretended not to hear them, but tears started rolling down her face. I was aghast at the cruelty—and the audacity of it.
And yet I couldn’t think of a single thing to do.
I was afraid if I told the teenagers to stop, it would just embarrass the woman more.
And I was afraid if I offered her a smile or some gesture of comfort, that would also mortify her.
That was probably almost ten years ago, and it still bothers me that I was in that situation and couldn’t figure out a way to offer kindness to someone who – it seemed to me—could really have used an ally.
My dad’s funeral kind of sucked, too.
That was hard.
Not just that my dad was dead, which- there’s no getting around it- wasn’t exactly my favorite thing in the world.
But I got there and was given the cold shoulder by people I grew up with, people who greeted my sister with big smiles and spent a lot of time talking to her with approval and adoration shining from their eyes.
I gave a kick-ass eulogy, and everyone on my mom’s side of the family came up to congratulate me.
But on my dad’s side of the family—nobody said boo.
I found out later that my sister had been calling people and telling them a lot of malarchy. (She told them that my parents had financially supported me through my entire adult life and that my mother is terrified of me because I am an emotional tyrant.
That’s just part of what she told them. All of it was hooey. )
But the point is, as it pertains to this question…that day was like a bad dream, because I felt bewildered by what I’d done to get the cold shoulder- at my dad’s funeral, no less.
Once, I saw a dog running around a neighborhood by itself, so I stopped the car to see if I could grab her and make her safe, and give her owner a call to tell them where she was.
I couldn’t catch the dog, but while I was trying, I saw this guy come around the corner, apparently looking for her too. He saw her in a yard, and he called her.
She looked up, wagged her tail and came trotting over to him, glad to be reunited with her master.
And he started whacking the shit out of her, yelling “Bad dog! Bad dog!”
She looked so confused and sad, because of course, she didn’t know he was whacking her for running away.
She thought he was whacking her for coming to him when he called.
She had no idea why she was being punished. And it was pretty nasty punishment being dished out, too.
Nothing to do with justice or training. Just…vindictive and mean.
The look on that dog’s face…that’s the way I felt at my dad’s funeral.
Powerless, unjustly accused, uncertain, like I was being punished.
And that day with the dog…that was another situation that felt awful because there was nothing I could do to make it better.
So I guess that’s the common denominator of things that are hard for me to be with: I feel uncertain and powerless in a situation of injustice.
Or maybe even just uncertain and powerless.
From The Editors: This is a new feature at LoveRomanceRelationship – a column written by Leslie – she has a fascinating life, a lot to say, and she writes brilliantly and compellingly…if you’d like to be considered as a LoveRomanceRelationship columnist, please let us know! If you’re finding these posts out of order (it’s Leslie’s story, so there is an order to it), just “search” under “Leslie” and you’ll find all of them. Just go by the dates and you can keep up!